Skip to main content

Full text of "Secession in theory, as the framers of the Constitution viewed it ; secession as practiced and as sustained by the United States ; secession as attempted by the Confederate States"

See other formats


SECESSION IN THEORY, AS THE FRAMERS OF 
THE CONSTITUTION VIEWED IT. 

SECESSION AS PRACTISED AND AS SUSTAINED 
BY THE UNITED STATES. 

SECESSION AS ATTEMPTED BY THE CONFED- 
ERATE STATES. 



By 



COL. ROBERT BINGHAM, 

Superintendent of The Bingham School, 

Asheville, N. C. 



Annual Address of President, Ninth Annual Session, State 

Literary and Historical Association, Raleigh, 

North Carolina, October 13, 1908. 



Supplement to Minutes. 



Authorities Quoted Herein, and the Date of the Publication of the Editions 
from which Citations are Made : 

Marshall's Life of Washington, C. P. Wayne. Philadelphia, 1807. 

Wm. Rawle's View of the Constitution, H. L. Carey & T. Lee, Philadel- 
phia, 1825. 

Spark's Life and Writings of Gouvemeur Morris, Carey & Bowen, 
Boston, 1832. 

Spark's Writings of Washington, American Stationers' Co., Boston, 1837. 

The Papers of James Madison, J. & H. G. Langley, New York, 1841. 

The Works of Daniel Webster, C. C. Little & Jas. Brown, Boston, 185 1. 

The Elliott Debates, J. B. Lippincott & Co.. 1861. 

Gentz's Republic of Republics, 4th Edition, Little, Brown & Co., Bos- 
ton, 1881. 

Larned's History for Ready Reference, C. A. Nichols Co., Springfield, 
Mass., 1895. 

Curry's Southern States of the American Union, Johnson Pub'g Co., 
Richmond, 1895. 

Benton's A Xotable Libel Case, Chas. F. Goodspeed, Boston, 1904. 

Bledsoe's Is Davis a Traitor, The Hermitage Press, Richmond, Va., 1907. 

Hunt's James Madison Papers, C. P. Putnam's Sons, 1908. 

Hart's Essentials in American History, American Book Co., Copy- 
righted in 1905. 

James Bryce's The American Commonwealth. 3d Edition. The Mac- 
millan Co. 

During the preparation of this paper a number of persons kindly gave 
useful information, and made valuable suggestions, among whom are: 
Charles Francis Adams, of Boston ; the late Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon ; 
Rev. Dr. R. F. Campbell, of Asheville, X. C. : Judge G. L. Christian, of 
Richmond, Va. ; Senator J. W. Daniel, of Va. ; President C. H. Denny, of 
Washington and Lee Univ. ; Mrs. Wm. Dinwiddie, of Greenwood, Va. : 
Miss Ruth Early, of Lynchburg, Va. ; Prof. J. H. Latane, of Washington 
and Lee Univ. ; the late Gen. Fitzhugh Lee : Mrs. M. J. Leeds, of Xew 
Orleans, La.: the late Gen. Dabney H. Maury; John Rawle, of Xatchez, 
Miss. : Wm. Brooke Rawle, of Philadelphia, Penn. : the late Dr. Wm. H. 
Ruffner, of Lexington. Va. : President Lyon G Tyler, of William and 
Mary College ; President Woodrow Wilson, of Princeton Univ. ; Dr. F. C. 
Woodward, of Richmond, Va. 






^s 



V) 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/secessionintheorOObing 



SECESSION 



When the historian of the future shall get the true perspective on the 
War Between the Sections in the United States, ending with the dissolu- 
tion of the Southern Confederacy in 1S65, the terms rebel, rebellion, trai- 
tor, treason must disappear in the light of historic verities as the true 
and scientific historian shall develop and promulgate them. Already the 
public prints have substituted CIVIL WAR, the name of sober judgment, 
for Rebellion, the name of passion. Lincoln, in his famous Thanksgiving 
Proclamation of November, 1863, which ranks with the greatest State 
Papers among men, spoke of the war then raging, not as a rebellion, but 
as "THE LAMENTABLE CIVIL STRIFE IN WHICH WE ARE UN- 
AVOIDABLY ENGAGED." Generals Fitzhugh Lee and Wheeler were 
educated at West Point ; they served in the U. S. Army in their earliest 
manhood, in the Confederate Army in their mature manhood, and again 
in the U. S. Army in their maturest manhood and old age. In February, 
1897, the U. S. Senate changed the term Rebellion in a bill under discus- 
sion to CIVIL WAR, and General Luke E. Wright, a Confederate vet- 
eran, is Secretary of War in President Roosevelt's Cabinet. 

In consideration of these notable changes in public sentiment, it does 
not seem too soon to anticipate the Historian of the Future, and to dis- 
cuss : 

I. 

SECESSION IN THEORY, AS THE FRAMERS OF 
THE CONSTITUTION VIEWED IT; 

II. 

SECESSION AS PRACTISED AND AS SUSTAINED 
BY THE UNITED STATES; 

III. 

SECESSION AS ATTEMPTED BY THE CONFED- 
ERATE STATES. 
In discussing Secession in theory, the work of others has been used 
at will, each citation being verified, and various citations not heretofore 
used have also been made. 

In discussing Secession as practiced by the United States, and as at- 
tempted by the Confederate States, some views are advanced which have 
not been heretofore presented, as far as has been ascertained. 



I. Secession in Theory. 

When some one asked an expert student of child life when the educa- 
tion of a child should begin, he repliad, At least one hundred years be- 
fore the child was born, and two thousand years would have been a bet- 
ter answer. In discussing secession in theory, I shall inquire into the 
pre-natal life of the frainers of the Constitution for two thousand years, 
in order to get a proper perspective on this most notable body of men, 
and then I shall inquire into the conditions and discussions immediately 
preceding, and at its adoption, on which the proper interpretation of any 
piece of legislation largely depends. 

The history of the world is hot the history of countries, but of 
RACES, and each race which has been eminent and dominant has had 
some distinctive race characteristic along the line of which it has devel- 
oped. The Teuton is the dominant man of today and from his beginning 
hitherto he has been unconquered and unconquerable, and has never 
had any rulers except of his own choice. The great Caesar said that the 
Empire had reached the sand desert on the south and was safe on the 
south ; that he had carried it to the sand desert of the East and to the 
Ocean desert of the West, and that it was safe on the East and on the 
West ; but with the prevision of genius he said that the danger was from 
the NORTH ; and it was his purpose to hurl the whole force of the Em- 
pire, when he should control it, against our Teutonic ancestors, and 
Latinize Germany as he had Latinized Gaul so completely that the hand 
of the great Caesar rests on France still as the head of Latin Europe. 
Tacitus says, "Others give battle ; but the Germans make WAR." But 
with the whole force of the greatest military power which the world has 
seen, Shakespeare's foremost man of all this world, stimulated by his 
prophetic vision of the destruction of the Empire at the hands of these 
Northern barbarians, would have Latinized Germany, and Europ- 
ean history would have been written differently. But Brutus's dagger 
preserved the Germans, and Augustus said on his death-bead, "O Varus, 
my legions, my legions, where are my legions !" The Germans had de- 
stroyed them to a man and Caesar's prophecy was fulfilled four hundred 
years later. 

The Teutons, who became stationary, when, in their migrations west- 
ward, they reached the North Sea and the Baltic, though they have 
never had any rulers except of their own choice, have been dominated by 
their rulers ; though they have become more restless under this domina- 
tion of late years ; but the still migratory Teutons, who under Hengist and 
Horsa, turned Britain into Angleland, and who from thence have con- 
tinued to move westward till their possessions encircle the whole earth, 
have always dominated their rulers. They soon absorbed their temporary 
Norman masters, and, inspired by their most marked characteristic, their 
intense instinct of local self-government, the Saxon churl became the 
Earl, the Duke and the King. Inspired by this intensest instinct of our 
race, our ancestors freed themselves from feudal vassalage to the Plan- 
tagenets and established the principles of the Magna Charta. They freed 
themselves from ecclesiastical vassalage to a foreign potentate and es- 
tablished the Church of England instead of the Church of Rome in the 
time of the Tudors. They freed themselves from domestic ecclesiastical 
and political vassalage to the Stuarts and established the principles of 



The Bill of Rights. And when the Cavaliers despaired of their local 
rights under Cromwell, and the Puritans felt hopeless with a Stuart on 
the throne again, like Abraham, seeking a country, both Cavaliers and 
Puritans came to the New World, and wrested the American wilderness 
from savage beasts and more savage men, in order to be their own mas- 
ters. But when the hand across the sea infringed on their local rights, 
they seceded from England, freed themselves from the vassalage of tax- 
ation without representation under the House of Brunswick, established 
the principles of the Declaration of Independence in blood, and England 
acknowledged the thirteen colonies, after the War of the first Secession 
ended successfully for the secessionists, not as a new nation in the ag- 
gregate, but as thirteen Sovereign and Independent Nations. 

This first War of Secession was won, with the aid of France, under 
"The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union." The style of this 
Confederacy, the Articles say, shall be "The United States of America, 
reserving to the States full sovereignty and all rights not expressly 
granted to Congress." Till the war was over, "they hung together," as 
Dr. Franklin expressed it, "lest they should hang separately." 

But the conditions under "The Articles of Confederation and PER- 
PETUAL Union" proved unsatisfactory, and the right of secession hav- 
ing been established by the sword, the second act of secession occurred, 
which was, from "The Articles of Confederation and PERPETUAL 
Union," lasting only thirteen years, into "The More Perfect Union" of 
the Constitution, in which the idea of perpetuity was most conspicuously 
and most significantly left out. 

Webster, the great apostle of Nationalism, and called the profound- 
est constitutional lawyer of his time, in his debate with Hayne in 1833, 
said, "If a league between sovereign powers have no limitation as to time, 
and contain nothing to make it perpetual, it subsists only during the 
good pleasure of the parties." That the Constitution was such a league 
or compact between sovereign powers is proved most conclusively from 
the testimony of its trainers. It is a principle of the common law of all 
races in all ages that the parties to a compact, with no duration of time 
set in the instrument, may withdraw from it at will. There is no time 
set in the "New Articles of Union," as in the "Perpetual Union" of the 
Articles of Confederation, because the "new articles of Union" were re- 
garded as an experiment by their framers, from which they might with- 
draw at will, if their local autonomy should be endangered thereby. 
Nowhere among men had the tide of local autonomy risen so high as 
among the thirteen sovereign States after the War of Secession from 
England. It took tbese thirteen independent Republics from 1783 to 
1789 to compromise their local rights and local jealousies sufficiently to 
form a federal union on any conditions ; and but for fear of attack from 
without, or of protectorates assumed by foreign powers over individual 
States, it is doubtful whether they would have united at all. Their an- 
cestors had resisted the Plantagenets successfully. Their ancestors had 
resisted the Church of Rome successfully. Their ancestors had beheaded 
Charles Stuart and expelled James Stuart. And when George III. op- 
pressed them, Patrick Henry said, "Caesar had his Brutus ; Charles 
I had his Cromwell, and George III. may porfit by their example." 



A government sufficiently strong for defense and offense must be 
endowed with powers delegated by thirteen Sovereign Republics and 
with no others; and all other powers and rights must remain with the 
States. The framers of the Constitution realized the necessity of com- 
mitting the sword and the purse to the general government ; and yet they 
remembered how the man of Macedon had overwhelmed the Greek re- 
publics, how the Roman Republic perished at the hands of the 
Caasars, how any one who resisted the tyranny of the Doge of Venice 
passed through the Bridge of Sighs to the Doge's prison and speedy 
death, and a similar fate had befallen all attempts at a government of 
the people in all the past. Knowing that the federal government, en- 
dowed with the power of the purse and of the sword, might easily en- 
croach on the States, while the States could not encroach on the general 
government, it was their purpose to create a general government of 
minimum powers, all distinctly specified, composed of Independent 
States with maximum powers, including all the powers not delegated ; 
and the powers delegated to the general government were not del- 
egated "in fee simple," so to speak, but on the condition, ipsis verbis, as 
shall be hereinafter clearly shown, that these powers should be resumed 
by three of the states, Virginia, New York and Rhode Island, if in the 
judgment of these States, these powers should be used by the general 
government for the oppression of the states, just as a testator often 
wills property to an heir on condition that it shall revert to the original 
owner if the conditions of the transfer should be violated. Such a con- 
dition, made inherent in one party to a compact, must adhere to every 
other party to the compact. 

It is safe to say that the convention of 1787 was composed of the 
wisest, the most intelligent and the most patriotic men who ever un- 
dertook to organize a government of the people, by the people and for 
the people. But with all their wisdom, their work was a foredoomed 
failure from the first. Every republic in all the past had failed through 
internal strife or external violence. The task of the framers of the Con- 
stitution was not only to organize a republic in the usual sense, which 
others in all the past had failed to do successfully, but to organize a 
Republic of Republics, a Sovereignty of Sovereignties. The Almighty 
balances the centripetal and centrifugal forces so that the heavenly 
bodies revolve in their orbits from age to age. But it was beyond the 
wisdom and power of mortal man to balance the centripetal and centri- 
fugal forces in a Republic of Republics so that some of the Independent 
Sovereignties already in the union, or to be in it later, should not come 
into conflict, not only with the powers, but with the necessities of the 
general government. Such a conflict was imminent in 1803 on account of 
expansion through the Louisiana purchase. It was imminent in 1S14 
through a foreign War, when New England proposed to secede from 
the Union and resume her allegiance to Great Britain. It was immi- 
nent in 1832 through taxation, the thing which had precipitated the se- 
cession from England in 1776. Some of these causes might recur. 

After a terrible war which settled some of the questions left unsettled 
by the framers of the Constitution, the country is still in jeopardy both 
at home and abroad by conditions not provided for or against ; and un- 



expected emergencies, like the Spanish War, may arise at any time, 
necessitating action not provided for under our system. 

As an example of a domestic menace not provided against by the 
Constitution, the white citizens of Springfield, Illinois. President Lin- 
coln's own State and President Lincoln's own home city, may murder 
their black fellow-citizens, burn their houses and churches, and chase the 
survivors, their women and their children from the city a second time 
as they did with impunity in August of the year of grace 1908, and un- 
less the local authorities choose to punish the criminals for making war 
not only on men accused of crimes and of being undesirable citizens, but 
upon their women and children, both the State of Illinois and the United 
States Government are powerless to intervene, and men guilty of murder 
and arson go scot free. The same thing occurred twice within three 
years in Springfield, Ohio, President McKinley's own State, and no one 
of the law-breakers has been punished by the local authorities because 
the local authorities are in sympathy with them and neither the State 
of Ohio nor the United States may intervene. 

Mobs may anticipate the law and put men to death for rape, arson or 
murder in any section of the union as mobs have done in every section 
of the union, and unless the local authorities choose to punish the law- 
breakers, they go scot free. 

If Italy had demanded blood instead of a mere money indemnity for 
the blood of her citizens murdered with impunity in Louisiana, and had 
sent war ships to New Orleans to enforce these demands ; if China of 
the near future should demand blood for the blood of her citizens mur- 
dered again, as they were murderd with impunity on the Pacific coast 
when China was helpless ; if Japan had sent war ships to enforce a sol- 
emn treaty, violated with impunity by the single city of San Francisco, 
the United States might be involved in a foreign war, because the United 
States, alone among the great powers is powerless, under our system, 
to punish the murderers of their fellow citizens, or of the citizens of a 
foreign friendly power, against the verdict of a jury in sympathy with 
the criminals ; and under our too centrifugal system any indemnity must 
be paid, not by the murderers, not by the county or state of which the 
murderers are residents, but by the United States Government. Such 
anomalous conditions constitute a constant menace both at home and 
abroad. 

But in 1S60 a crisis foreseen, and not provided against, came through 
the election, for the first time in the history of the Republic, of a strictly 
sectional President and Vice-President by a small but compact minority 
of the Northern States. 

This sectionalism of the Northern States caused the Southern States 
to withdraw from the union for the preservation of their local rights, in 
accordance with the compact of 1789, as the framers of the Constitution 
interpreted it, as the whole country interpreted it up to 1830, and as the 
United States Government taught it at West Point, as shall be herein- 
after shown. 

In order to form a union at all, on any conditions, many compro- 
mises were necessary. As far back as 1776 a minority saw that slavery 
was a menace and Jefferson introduced an emancipation section into the 



Declaration of Independence, but this section was voted out by the ma- 
jority, in 17S7, and slavery existed in every one of the thirteen original 
States without further protest, was made as much a part of the Consti- 
tution as the President, the Vice-President or Congress, and a premium 
was put on it by allowing every slave holder five-fifths of a vote for him- 
self and three-fifths of a vote for each slave, thereby greatly increasing 
the slave-holder's power. The slave-holders were further placated by 
incorporating the fugitive slave law into the Constitution. The States 
engaged in the slave trade (including all New England, but excluding 
every Southern State) refused to enter the Union unless they should be 
allowed till 1S10 to get their shipping out of the slave trade. The small 
States, which had no grants of public lands, demanded that the public 
lands of the larger States should be turned over to the general govern- 
ment. The smaller States demanded equal representation in the Senate 
with the larger States, and through this most unjust discrimination 
against the larger in favor of the smaller, several mining camps have 
been foisted of late on the Union in order to secure Republican senators 
for oppressive class legislation, and nothing emphasizes state sovereignty 
more than that Rhode Island demanded and received as many senators 
as New York and Virginia, and keeps them still. 

Questions of taxation, of interstate commerce came up for adjust- 
ment and caused much wrangling. It was the blood and breed of 
people of these thirteen independent republics from their beginning in 
the forests of Germany to their secession from England and again from 
the Confederation, to be intensely jealous of their local rights. While 
they saw the necessity of a stronger government than under the Con- 
federation, they were afraid to consign their individual supremacy in 
anything to any general government even of their own creation, without 
the right to secede from it, even though the powers not expressly granted 
to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the 
States, were most distinctly reserved to the States respectively. Patrick 
Henry opposed the adoption of the Constitution bitterly. "Away with 
your President," he said ; "we shall have a KING. The army will salute 
him monarch. Your militia will leave you and assist in making him 
king and fight against you. And what have you to oppose this force? 
What will become of you and your rights? Will not absolute despotism 
ensue?" 

Samuel Adams, one of the great revolutionary leaders of Massa- 
chusetts, had gone to the convention with many others to defeat the Con- 
stitution. In a letter to Richard Henry Lee, dated December 3, 1787, he 
says, "I stumble at the threshold. I meet with a national government 
instead of a federal union of sovereign States. If the several States are 
to become one nation, under one legislature, its powers to extend to all 
legislation, and its laws to be supreme and control the whole, the idea 
of the sovereignty of these States must be lost." Late in the session, 
when everything betokened defeat, Gov. Hancock came forward with 
conciliatory propositions, embodying what afterwards became the Tenth 
Amendment, and Samuel Adams said, "Your Excellency's first proposi- 
tion is, that it be explicity declared that all powers not expressly dele- 
gated to Congress are reserved to the several States to be by them ex- 



ercised. This appears to my mind to be a summary of a bill of rights 
which gentlemen are anxious to obtain. * * * It is consonant with the 
Second Article of present Confederation that each State retains its sov- 
ereignty, freedom and independence and every power, jurisdiction and 
right, which is not by the Confederation expressly delegated to the 
United States in Congress assembled." (II. Elliott's Debates, p. 131. 
Republic of Republics, pp. 85-86.) 

How amply have Patrick Henry's prophesies and Samuel Adams' 
fears been fulfilled in the history of the Southern States since 1S61 ! 

It will help us to realize the difficulties under which the trainers of 
the Constitution labored to remember that in 1787, four years after the 
treaty of peace, Benjamin Franklin, then 81 years of age, and supposed 
in his earlier life to have been an atheist, moved that prayer be offered 
every morning at the opening of the Convention, using these words, "We 
are assured in the sacred writings that 'except the Lord build the house, 
they labor in vain who build it.' I firmly believe this, and I also believe 
that without this concurring aid, we shall proceed in this political build- 
ing no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our 
little, partial, local interests ; our prosperity will be confounded, and 
we ourselves shall be a reproach and a by-word to future ages. And, 
what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance 
despair of founding a government by human wisdom and leave it to 
chance, war or conquest." (Madison Papers, I. p. 259, G. P. Putnam's 
Sons, 190S.) 

It having been shown who and what manner of men the framers of 
the Constitution were from their beginning in the forests of Germany 
two thousand years ago, to their latest migration to the forests of Amer- 
ica in obedience to their intensest instinct, the instinct of local self-gov- 
ernment, any student of the man of Anglo-Saxon blood and breed in all 
the past, and especially at this particular crisis, is prepared to say that 
it is not within the bounds of possibility for these Independent Repub- 
lics, all intensely jealous of their liberties and of each other, to commit 
the power of the purse and sword unconditionally to the collective will 
of the whole American people, or to any other person or persons what- 
soever, when there was nothing except a king which they dreaded as 
much as a consolidated democracy. The referendum was more than 100 
years in the womb of the future, and is of very doubtful value now that 
it has been born. The Colonies had won the right of secession from 
Great Britain with the sword. As the United States of 1783 they had 
exercised the right of secession at will from the Articles of Confedera- 
tion and Perpetual Union. 

It is not conceivable that these thirteen Independent Republics 
should have committed themselves to the "New Articles of Union," as the 
Constitution was constantly called by its framers, without protecting 
their cherished liberties by retaining the right of seceding from the New 
Articles at will, as they had seceded forcibly from England and peace- 
ably from the Articles of Confederation, and of resuming the powers del- 
egated conditionally to the general Government, if these powers should 
be used for their oppression. And to this end the absence of any dura- 
tion of time to the compact carried the right of withdrawal from it at 

9 



will on its very face, as even Webster himself admits, and three of the 
States entered the Union conditionally, as shall be hereafter shown. 

In his debate with Hayne in 1833, forty-three years after the adop- 
tion of the Constitution, Webster said that if the Constitution was a 
compact between the States, to which they acceded one by one, they 
could secede from it at will, but he denied in 1833 that the union was a 
compact, and he called the word "compact" UNCONSTITUTIONAL 
language. He said further as has already been noted, "If a league be- 
tween sovereign powers have no limitation as to time and contain noth- 
ing to make it perpetual, it subsists only during the good pleasure of the 
parties." Justice Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. 
III., p. 287, says, "The deductions drawn from considering the Consti- 
tution a compact between the States are that it has an obligatory force 
no longer than suits the pleasure or consent" (of the States.) 

Now, if it can be shown from the words of the framers of the Consti- 
tution that it icas a compact between the States and that the States did 
accede to it, the theoretical right of secession is admitted by the extreme 
Nationalists themselves. 

The Constitution a Compact. 

Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, called it a 
COMPACT, not only during the session of the convention of 1787, but all 
the rest of his life. "In case of a union of the people under one Con- 
stitution," he says, in urging the ratification of the new articles of 
union, "the nature of the PACT has always been understood, etc' 
(Madison Papers, p. 11S4.) 

In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, drafted by Madison, he says, 
"This Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare that it views 
the powers of theFederal Government as resulting from the COMPACTS to 
which the States are parties ; as limited by the plain sense and intention 
of the instrument constituting the COMPACT ; as no further valid than 
they are authorized by the grants authorized by that COMPACT ; and in 
case of a deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of other powers not 
granted by the said COMPACT, the States which are parties thereto 
have the right and are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the 
progress of the evil and for maintaining within their respective limits 
the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them." (Larned's 
History for Ready Reference, Vol. V., p. 3322.) Again in his letter to 
Mr. Everitt in 1830, Madison calls the Constitution "A COMPACT be- 
tween the States in their highest sovereign capacity." In the same letter 
he speaks of the States as "parties to the constitutional COMPACT." 
Governor Morris, the representative from Pennsylvania and a steady 
advocate of a strong national Government, used these words (Madison 
Papers, 1081-2), "He came here to form a compact for the good of 
America. He hoped and believed that all the States would enter into 
such a compact. But as the compact was to be voluntary, it was vain 
for the Eastern States to insist on what the Southern States would not 
agree to." Chief Justice Jay of the Supreme Court, in the case of Chis- 
holm vs. the State of Georgia, 3 Dal. R. P. 419, says. "The Constitution 
of the United States is a COMPACT." John Quincy Adams, the sixth 

10 



President, says, "The Constitution of the United States and all our State 
Constitutions, have been voluntary COMPACTS, deriving their authority 
from the free consent of the parties to them." Again in the Virginia 
Reports of 1S00 it is said, "The States being parties to the Constitutional 
COMPACT." Edmund Pendleton, President of the ratifying Convention 
of Virginia, says, "This is the only Government founded on a real COM- 
PACT." (Elliott Debates, Vol. III., p. 57.) Judge Tucker, in his Com- 
mentaries on Blackstone, frequently calls the Constitution a COMPACT 
between the States. 

Jefferson was Minister to France during the Convention of 17S7 ; 
but his attitude towards the powers of the Federal Governmnt are 
plainly indicated. "The States." he says in his Correspondence, Vol. V., 
p. 415, "Entered into a COMPACT which is called The Constitution of 
the United States." In the Kentucky Resolutions, passed by the Legis- 
lature of Kentucky on November 13th, 179S, approved by the Governor 
on the 16th, and sent officially by him to every other State and to the 
members of Congress, Jefferson uses the following language: "Resolved, 
that the several States composing the United States of America are not 
united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general govern- 
ment ; but that by COMPACT under the style and title of a Constitution 
for the United States and of amendments thereto, they constitute a Gen- 
eral Government for special purposes, delegating to that Government 
certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself the residuary mass 
of right to their own self-government ; and that whensoever the General 
Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts were unauthoritative, 
void and of no force ; that to this COMPACT each State acceded as a 
State ; * * * that the Government CREATED by this COMPACT was not 
made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated 
to itself, since that would have made its discretion, not the Constitu- 
tion, the measure of its powers ; but, that, as in all other cases of COM- 
PACT among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal 
right to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and 
measure of redress." (Larned's History for Ready Reference, Vol. V., 
p. 3319.) Even the Federalist, No. 39, sets the Constitution before the 
public as a COMPACT. And Webster, called, "the great expounder of 
the Constitution, and the greatest constitutional lawyer of his time," is 
a very strong witness to the Constitution's being a compact. Before 
1830 no one had discovered that the Constitution was not a compact. In 
the great debate on the Foote Resolutions in 1S30, Webster, like every- 
body else up to that time, spoke of the Constitution as a COMPACT. 
"It is the original bargain, the Compact ; let it stand," he said. "Let the 
advantage of it be fully enjoyed. The Union is too full of benefits to be 
hazarded by propositions to change its original basis. I go for the Con- 
stitution as it is and the Union as it is ;" and he repels "both for himself 
and for the North accusations which impute to us a disposition to evade 
the Constitutional COMPACT." This was just forty-one years after the 
Constitution was adopted. In the great debate of 1833 Webster had 
changed his opinion and said that the Constitution was not a compact, 
and that the word "compact" as applied to it was "unconstitutional 
language," although it had been used constantly by the framers of the 

11 



Constitution from 1787, as has been already shown, and was distinctly 
used by himself in 1830. But by 1850 he had receded from his position 
in 1833, when he said (Webster's Works, Vol. V., p. 159), "The North 
finds itself in regard to the relative influence of the South and North of 
the free States and the slave States, where it never ex- 
pected to find itself when they agreed to the COMPACT of the Consti- 
tution." In the same speech (page 574), he says, "When the Constitu- 
tion was framed, its framers and the people who adopted it, came to a 
clear, express, unquestionable stipulation and COMPACT." (Webster's 
Works, Vol. II., p. 574.) In the same speech he says in connection with 
the NULLIFICATION of the Constitution by the refusal to obey the 
fugitive slave law, "These States passed acts (fourteen Northern States 
in all did so), defeating the law of Congress. They said in effect, we 
will not execute it. Thus the law is become a dead letter. But here 
was the Constitution and COMPACT still binding." And in the same 
speech he calls this nullification of the Constitution treason and says 
further : "It has been said in the States of New York, Massachusetts 
and Ohio that the fugitive slave law shall not be executed. These pro- 
ceedings are distinctly treasonable. The act of taking Shadrick from 
the public authorities of Boston was a clear act of treason." Mr. Web- 
ster says again, "I do not hesitate to say and to repeat that if the 
Northern States wilfully and deliberately refuse to carry out that part 
of the Constitution which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, the 
South would no longer be bound to keep the COMPACT. A bargain 
broken on one side is broken on all sides." That is, the South would 
have a right to secede. 

After seeing this testimony it cannot be denied that its framers con- 
sidered the Constitution a COMPACT, and we call on Webster himself 
to decide who the rebels and traitors are, if the men who created the 
Constitution can be allowed to interpret it. 

The Constitution Acceded To. 

The testimony that it was acceded to by the States is equally con- 
vincing. In the debate with Calhoun, forty-four years after the Consti- 
tution was adopted, Webster said, "If in adopting the Constitution noth- 
ing was done but acceding to it. nothing would be necessary in order to 
break it up, but to secede from it. This term accede is wholly out of 
place. It is unconstitutional language." But no form of expression was 
more common among the framers of the Constitution in speaking of its 
being adopted than "the accession of the States to it." James Wilson, 
of Pennsylvania, whose fame has been steadily growing, "preferred a 
partial union of the States with the door open for the accession of the 
rest rather than to see a disposition defeated to confederate on better 
principles." (Madison Papers, p. 797.) 

Madison, the father of the Constitution, spoke of acceding to the new 
form of government by the States. (Madison Papers, p. 1103.) Gov- 
ernor Randolph, of Virginia, said, "The accession of eight States re- 
duced our deliberations to the single question of Union or no Union." 
Patrick Henry said. "If the Constitution be amended, every State will 
accede to it." (Elliott Debates. Vol. III., p. 652.) 

12 



"I come hither," said Innes, "under the persuasion that the felicity 
of our country requires that we should accede to this system" (the Con- 
stitution.) (Elliott Debates, Vol. III., p. 632.) Franklin, the most dis- 
tinguished member of the Convention except Washington, said, "Our new 
Constitution is now established with eleven States, and the accession 
of a twelfth is soon expected." (Franklin's Works. Vol. V., p. 409.) 
And finally we add the testimony of Washington himself, who says, "If 
these, with the States Eastward and Northward of us should accede to 
the Federal Government." (Writings of Washington, Vol. IX.. p. 280.) 
And in a letter to Bushrod Washington, he said, "Let the opponents of 
the proposed Constitution be asked, and it is a question they certainly 
ought to ask themselves, what line of conduct they would advise, if none 
other States, of which I think there is little doubt, should accede to the 
Constitution." 

Chief Justice Marshall says in his Life of Washington, Vol. V., Chap. 
3, "This intelligence was more than counterbalanced by the accession of 
North Carolina to the Union." Justice Story says, "The Constitution 
has been ratified by all the States ; Rhode Island did not accede to it till 
more than a year after it had been in operation." Book III., Chap. 43. 
And in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson, as already referred 
to says. "To this Compact each State acceded as a State." 

Thus Webster, "the great Expoundor of the Constitution." admits 
the abstract right of secession, if the Constitution was a compact, and 
if it was acceded to by the States. It has been shown that Webster had 
not discovered that it was not a compact in 1830, that he asserted in 
1833 that it was not a compact, and in 1851 he returned to his own 
opinion held in 1830 that it was a compact, an opinion held by all tbe 
framers of the Constitution, and by the whole country up to 1830. The 
proof that it was acceded to by the States is clear, if we can accept the 
testimony of its framers, including Franklin, and Washington himself. 
In Webster's celebrated debate with Calhoun, Calhoun reminded him 
that the principles he advanced would be subjected to the judgment of 
posterity. "I do not decline its judgment nor withhold myself from its 
scrutiny." Webster replied. Posterity has judged sooner than could 
have been expected. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, of Massachusetts, a 
successor of Webster's in the United States Senate, in his Life of Web- 
ster, American Statesmen Series, page 176, uses the following language : 
"In his reply to Hayne (in 1833) Webster labored to show, first, that 
nullification had never found foothold in New England, and second, that 
the Federal Constitution was not a compact. Unfortunately the facts 
were against Webster in both instances. When the Constitution was 
adopted by the vote of the States in Philadelphia, and accepted by the 
vote of the States in popular Conventions, it is safe to say that there 
was not a man in the country from Washington and Hamilton on one 
side to George Clinton and George Mason on the other, who regarded 
the new system as anything but an experiment, entered upon by the 
States, from whicb ^ach and every State had the right peaceably to 
withdraw, a right which was very likely to be exercised." 

Webstee's National Govebnment Claim. 
A study of the discussions of the Convention of 1787 refutes two 

13 



other claims of the Nationalists if the framers of the Constitution un- 
derstood what they were doing. Webster and his followers stress the 
claim that the first resolution passed by the Convention of 17S7 was, 
"That a NATIONAL Government be established." But this resolution 
was passed before the Convention had a quorum, only six States being 
represented up to that time. When the Convention was full, this reso- 
lution for a National Government was reconsidered and rescinded by a 
unanimous vote (Madison Papers, pp. 90S, 909.) And yet Webster and 
Story, in the face of the facts of the case, and in default of any better 
foundation than their own opinion, built what they parade as a weighty 
argument on a resolution which was rejected unanimously by the fram- 
ers of the Constitution. 

The Referendum Claim Examined. 

Again, more than forty years after 17S9. Webster and his school be- 
gan to press the claim that the words, "We, the people of the United 
States," in the preamble of the Constitution, make the Constitution para- 
mount law through the action of the people of the United States in the 
aggregate, and abrogate State sovereignty. The framers of the Con- 
stitution left the clearest testimony to the contrary. It is well known 
that the preamble to the "New Articles of Union," as its framers called 
the Constitution, began exactly as the Articles of Confederation did. 
"We, the people of the United States," naming the original thirteen 
States individually. This continued for more than a year, until it be- 
came doubtful whether all the thirteen States would accede to the "new 
articles," or whether any of them would, and which ones would, if any 
should ; and after much discussion and much wrangling, it was agreed 
that nine States should make a quorum ; and when nine States acceded 
to the Constitution, Washington was inaugurated, and the door was left 
open for the accession of the others to come in individually, if their 
people in convention assembled should see fit to do so, just as those al- 
ready in the Union had come in individually, by the action of the con- 
vention of each State. Gouverneur Morris, afterward minister to France 
and Senator from New York, a zealous advocate of a strong government, 
moved that "the reference of the plan of the new articles of Union be 
made to a general convention, chosen and authorized by the people to con- 
sider, amend and establish the same." But this motion did not receive 
a second in the convention of 1787, such a mode of ratification being 
deemed impossible by the framers of the Constitution (Madison Papers, 
p. 1184.) The people of the United States in the aggregate are not now, 
* never were, and never can be a political entity. Except in a merely 
geographical or in a sentimental sense, no such "people" ever existed. 
They have no political existence. They have no method of legislation on 
any subject whatever. They have never elected a President, Vice- 
President or Presidential Elector. They cannot elect a constable. The very 
name, The United States, adopted by the framers of the Constitution, 
establishes the sovereignty of the States. Jackson had a plurality of 
the votes of "The People of the United States" in 1S24 ; but John Quincy 
Adams became President. Tilden had a majority of 2l0,935 of the votes 
of "The People of the United States" in 1876; but Hayes became Presi- 

14 



dent by the majority of the electoral votes. Cleveland had a majority 
of 98,017 of the votes of "The People of the United States" in 18SS; but 
Harrison became President by the majority of the electoral votes. The 
Courts have decided that the presidential electors are STATE and not 
Federal officers, and in most of the States for more than a quarter of 
a century after 1TS9, the State legislatures appointed the presidential 
electors, and the people, therefore, voted only indirectly for the electors 
even, their choice being expressed by their votes for the members of 
the legislature. It was only after the provisions of the Constitution had 
been agreed upon and its language referred to "a committee on style" 
more than a year after the convention assembled, that the names of the 
original thirteen States were omitted, and "We, the people of the United 
States" (that is, of the States to be united) was substituted. It was the 
pen of Gouverneur Morris, in the interest of mere style, that made the 
substitution, which Webster and his school interpret as abrogating the 
sovereignty of the States, although the framers of the Constitution con- 
sidered it mere verbiage in the interest of style (Is Davis a Traitor, pp. 
60-61), having no effect on the intent of the instrument; and Gouverneur 
Morris, by the stroke of whose pen, according to Webster, the sover- 
eignty of the States was abrogated, said, years afterwards, "The Con- 
stitution was a compact, not between individuals, but between political 
societies, between the people, not of America, but of the United States, 
each enjoying sovereign power and of course equal rights." (Life and 
Writings of G. M., Vol. III., p. 193.) 

The Sovereignty of the United States Affirmed. 

Nothing was more fixed in the minds of the framers of the Consti- 
tution, or more distinctly and constantly affirmed by them than the sov- 
ereignty of the States. Alexander Hamilton said the present union is 
"an association of States, a confederacy," and that "the people of New 
York are the sovereigns of it." (Fed. IX., his address in 17S9.) Chan- 
cellor Livingston said our "general polity is a league of States." (II. 
Elliott Debates, 274.) James Madison said, "The States are regarded 
as distinct and Independent Sovereigns by the Constitution. (Fed. 
XL.) Washington wrote of the Constitution as "a compact or treaty," 
and of the same union as formed by it as "The New Confederacy" (Let- 
ter to Gen. Pinckney, June 28, 17S8 ; letter' to D. Stuart, October 17, 
1787.) Dr. Franklin said that the Senate was to secure in the union 
"the sovereignties of the individual States (V. Elliott Debates, 266.) 
James Wilson said, "The sovereignty is in the people before they make 
a constitution, and remains in them after it is made," and that the said 
people are the "thirteen Independent Sovereignties." (Mass. Senti- 
nel, October 24, 17S7.) John Dickinson called the new political system 
a "Confederacy of Republics," and recognized therein "the sovereignty of 
each State" (John Dickinson's Political Writings, II., p. 107.) Gouver- 
neur Morris, as already noted, said, "The Constitution is a compact be- 
tween political societies, each enjoying sovereign powers." (Life of 
Morris, III., p. 193.) Roger Sherman said. "The Government was insti- 
tuted by a number of sovereign States." (Letter to John Adams in Vol. 
VII., of Writings of J. A.) Oliver Elsworth called the States "Sovereign 

15 



bodies." (II. Elliott Debates, 197.) John Marshall spoke of the State 
in the Union as the "sovereign power." (III. Elliott Debates, 297, 549.) 
Samuel Adams said, "Each State retains its sovereignty in the present 
Union." (Elliott Debates, 131.) Gov. James Bowdoin spoke of the 
Union as "a confederacy," and of the States as "distinct sovereignties." 
(II. Elliott Debates. 129.) James Iredell, of North Carolina, after- 
wards on the Supreme Court of the United States, said that "the fed- 
eral senate was necessary to preserve completely the sovereignty of 
the States." (IV. •Ellliott Debates. 133.) Fisher Ames said. "The 
Senators represent the sovereignty of the States in the QUALITIES OF 
AMBASSADORS." (II. Elliott Debates, 46.) Theophilus Parsons, the 
celebrated Chief Justice of Massachusetts, said that "the Senate was de- 
signed to preserve the sovereignty of the States." (Memoirs of Par- 
sons, p. 9S.) Christopher Gore said. "The Senate represents the sov- 
ereignty of the States." (II. Ellliott Debates, 18.) These quotations 
might be multiplied indefinitely, as showing what the framers of the 
Constitution felt, said and did, and these facts were never questioned 
before 1S30, when the agitation against slavery began. In 1826 Everett 
wrote to Jefferson that "the Constitution of the United States is a com- 
pact of Independent Nations." To Washington Hunt he wrote, May 29, 
I860. "Our union of co-equal, Sovereign States requires the harmony of 
its members and their voluntary combination in its organic functions." 
John Quincy Adams said in his discourse on the Constitution, delivered 
in 1S39. "To the people alone is there reserved as well the DISSOLVING 
as the constituent powers of the Union, and the people of each State have 
the right to secede from the confederated union." (Republic of Repub- 
lics, p. 330.) William H. Seward at Cleveland in 1844. said. "This 
Union must be a voluntary one and not compulsory. A union upheld by 
force would be despotism." And on October 20, 1865, in an elaborate 
address on the then condition of things, he said, "This absolute existence 
of the States which constitute the republic is the most palpable of all the 
facts which the American statesman has to deal with. In a practical 
sense the States were before the Union teas. Our federal republic exists, 
and henceforth and forever, must exist through the combination of these 
free, self-existing, stubborn States. They are living, growing, majestic 
trees, whose roots are widely spread and interlaced with the soil, and 
whose shade covers the earth." (Republic of Republics, p. 331.) 

And perhaps the most significant and far-reaching thought developed 
in the Council of the Governors of forty-four States, assembled in the 
East Room of the White House on invitation of President Roosevelt, May 
13, 1908, was in the address of the Hon. Elihu Root, Secretary of State, 
who said in part : "Forty-four sovereign States are represented here, 
all sovereigns, here on invitation of the Executive of a sovereign Na- 
tion. No one can estimate the importance of maintaining each and every 
one of the sovereignties of the States, and no one can over-estimate the 
importance of maintaining the sovereignty of the Nation. The Nation 
cannot perform functions of State sovereignties. If it were to under- 
take to perform these functions, it would break down. The pressure is 
already too heavy on the National machinery. I feel deeply impressed 
with the idea that the forty-six sovereign States, in the performance of 

16 



their duties of government are lagging behind the stage of development 
which other sovereignties on earth have reached. If you look at the in- 
ternational life of the world, you will see that the correspondence be- 
tween nations is continually increasing. Scores and hundreds of confer- 
ences and congresses are being held under government auspices to reg- 
ulate the action of the different nations of the earth. All the nations of 
Europe are considering the effect which their action shall have on the 
people of each other government. Now, our States in the exercise of 
their sovereignty, in the exercise of the powers reserved to them, 
rest under the same kind of duty, a duty which forbids the people of any 
State to live unto themselves alone. Why should not the powers re- 
served to the State sovereignties be exercised by these sov- 
ereignties with a wise regard for the common interest, under a firm re- 
solve to make it wholly unnecessary that this continual pressure to force 
the national government into the performance of duties which the States 
should perform should continue? I regard this meeting as the beginning 
of an era in which the States will exercise their sovereign powers on a 
higher plane of patriotism than ever before." This sounds as if Root 
were addressing the Convention of 1787, or Madison the Conference of 
Governors in 1908. 

The Conditional Entrance of the States Into the Union. 

The conditions on which Virginia, New York and Rhode Island went 
into the Union are very significant. Virginia was then much the largest 
State in the Union, her population in 1790 being 747,610 ; New York, with 
a population of 340,120, was reckoned among the smaller States, but her 
central position made her accession especially important. Rhode Island 
was the smallest State. 

The preamble of Virginia's ratification of the Constitution is as fol- 
lows: 

"We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursu- 
ance of a recommendation from the General Assembly, and now met in 
Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the pro- 
ceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared, as well as the 
most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon, do, in the 
name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, 
that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the 
people of the United States, be resumed by them whensoever the 
same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every 
power, not granted thereby, remains with them, and at their will; that, 
therefore, no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, re- 
strained, or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Rep- 
resentatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any depart- 
ment officer of the United States, except in those instances in which 
power is given by the Constitution for those purposes." 

In this statement of the conditions under which Virginia entered the 
Union, it is significant that the word secede or withdraw is not used. 
The use of either of these words would have been conceding too much to 
the Union. The condition made by Virginia was that she should resume 

17 



the powers only conditionally delegated, if these powers should be used 
injuriously or oppressively by the general government. 

On page 12 of E. P. Powell's "Nullification and Secession in the 
United States," it is stated that New York voted the ratification of 
the Constitution on the declared premise that "the powers of govern- 
ment may be resumed by the people (of New York) whenever it shall 
become necessary to their happiness." 

It thus appears that New York went into the Union on the condition 
that the powers delegated to the general government should be resumed 
when it became necessary to her happiness to resume them. 

On page 55 of his "Southern States of the American Union," Dr. 
J. L. M. Curry states that "Rhode Island reserved in terms the right to 
withdraw from the Union whenever her interests demanded it." 

If any one of the parties to a contract may withdraw at will, the right 
of withdrawal at will must be conceded to every party to the contract. 
Not one only, but three parties to the constitutional compact entered it 
with the right distinctly reserved to resume the powers delegated if these 
powers should be used to their injury or oppression. 

It may be worth while to add the opinion of two intelligent foreign- 
ers, both deep and earnest students of the American government, with a 
better perspective than any American can get. 

De Tocqueville, in his "Democracy in America," published in 1835, 
speaks as follows on pages 393, 394, 395, Vol. I. (World's Great Classics, 
Colonial Press 1899), "However strong a government may be, it cannot 
easily escape from a principle which it has once admitted as the founda- 
tion of its Constitution. The Union was formed by the voluntary agree- 
ment of the States, and in uniting together they have not forfeited their 
nationality. If one of the States chose to withdraw its name from the 
contract, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so and the 
Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims di- 
rectly either by force or by right." (In coercing a state) "the Govern- 
ment would be exerting a force not derived from itself, but contrary to 
its nature." "The present Union will last only as long as the States 
which compose it choose to continue members of the Confederation." 

In his "American Commonwealth," 3d Edition, 1900, p. 17, James 
Brice speaks as follows : ""The American Federal Republic is itself a 
commonwealth as well as a union of commonwealths, because it claims 
directly the obedience of every citizen and acts immediately on him 
through its courts and executive officers. Still less are its minor com- 
munities, the States, mere subdivisions of the Union, mere creatures of 
the National Government, like the counties of England or the depart- 
ments of France. They have over their citizens an authority which is 
their own, and not delegated by the central government. They have not 
been called into being by that government. They, that is the older ones 
among them, existed before it. They could exist without it. * * * It 
might be destroyed and they might survive as independent, self-govern- 
ing communities." 

In the light of these historic verities what would the trainers of the 
Constitution think of Lincoln's extra constitutional claim in his first in- 

18 



augural that the States occupy the same relative position to the general 
government which the counties occupy to a State? 

The Theory of Secession Affiemed by the Northern States. 

Having discussed the THEORY of secession as the trainers of the. 
Constitution understood and promulgated it, let us proceed to discuss 
the theory and PRACTICE of nullification and secession since 1789. No 
Southern State has ever nullified a single article of requirement of the 
Constitution. In 1832 South Carolina threatened to nullify an act of 
Congress imposing unjust and oppressive taxation laws, as the Fathers 
had opposed unjust taxation in 1776 and to exercise her inalienable right 
of withdrawal from the Union unless these laws were made less oppres- 
sive; but President Jackson made the adjustment, the matter was set- 
tied amicably ; it was a complaint, not against any action of the Consti- 
tution, but only against an act of Congress, and it was made only once. 
Before 1SG0 fourteen Northern States had nullified the fugitive slave law, 
which was as much a part of the Constitution as the President or Con- 
gress, and these acts of nullification were denounced by Daniel Webster 
in 1850 as distinct acts of treason. 

In 1S03, it was feared by New England that the Louisiana purchase 
would diminish the influence of their section of the Union ; and Senator 
Pickering, of Massachusetts, strongly advocated the formation of a 
"Northern Confederacy," and the legislature of Massachusetts passed 
the following resolution : "Resolved, That the annexation of Louisiana 
to the Union transcends the constitutional power of the Government of 
the United States. It formed a new Confederacy to which the States 
united by the former compact are not bound to adhere." On January 14, 

1811, in the debate in Congress on the admission of Louisiana, Josiah 
Quincy of Massachusetts, said, "If this bill (for the admission of Lou- 
isiana) passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolu- 
tion of the Union; that it will free the States from their moral obliga- 
tion, and as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to 
prepare for separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must." 

The Embargo Act, passed by Congress, caused so much dissatisfaction 
during Jefferson's second administration that it was repealed in 1S09 ; 
but not until John Quincy Adams declared that if it was not repealed, 
the New England States would withdraw from the Union and had opened 
negotiations with Great Britain toward that end (Encyclopedia Amer- 
icana, Embargo.) 

The repeal of the Embargo Act in 1809 did not relieve the people of 
the United States from the unjust and arbitrary conduct of England. 
She did not revoke her Orders of Council ; she still continued to search 
our ships, blockade our ports and impress our seamen, until at last an 
indignant people forced the hand of President Madison, and on June 18, 

1812, we entered into our second War of Independnce. But the ship 
owners of New England suffered hardship, and the New England Feder- 
alists, under the leadership of Timothy Pickering, late Senator from 
Massachusetts, opposed the prosecution of this second War of Indepen- 
dence in every way. We find in "Familiar Letters on Public Charac- 
ters," p. 275, an account of a public meeting in Faneuil Hall, July 14, 1814, 

19 



denouncing the War, in which Josiah Quincy and Harrison Gray Otis 
were the principal speakers. The plan of a Northern Confederacy, pro- 
posed by Pickering, Plumer, Griswold and Burr in 1804, and threatened 
in 180S and 1809, was revived. This resulted in the famous Hartford 
Convention, held on invitation of the Legislature of Massachusetts, which 
on October 18, 1814, "appointed twelve delegates to meet and confer with 
delegates from other States of New England, or any of them, on subjects 
of their public grievances and concerns." On this invitation, Connecti- 
cut appointed seven delegates and Rhode Island four. These twenty- 
four delegates met in Hartford, December 15, 1S14, and admitted two 
delegates from New Hampshire and one from Vermont, every New Eng- 
land State being represented. This convention adopted the doctrine that 
the States had the right to nullify the laws of Congress, and advised 
separate action of the States in matters confided by the Constitution to 
the General Government. This report was transmitted to the Governor 
on January 18, 1815, was laid before the Legislature, which, on January 
27th, adopted a resolution highly approving the proceedings of the Con- 
vention, and authorizing the Governor and Council to appoint three com- 
missioners to go immediately to Washington and make application for 
some arrangement by which "The State of Massachusetts, separately or 
in concert with the neighboring States, may be able to assume the de- 
fense of their territories AGAINST THE ENEMY" (that is the General 
Government.) In all this opposition to the Embargo and to the second 
War for Independence against England, Daniel Webster took an active 
and leading part. In July, 1812, he made a speech against the War with 
England, and in August of the same year he wrote the "Rockingham 
Memorial," in which he threatened secession from the Union (Writings 
and Speeches of Webster, Vol. XV., p. 598.) In December, 1814, Webster 
said in Congress that Congress had no power to raise armies by calling 
out the militia against the will of the States, and taught resistance to 
the National Government in these words, "It is the solemn duty of the 
State Governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, 
and to interpose between their own citizens and arbitrary power. I shall 
exhort them to exercise their rights of providing for the security of their 
liberties." 

Col. Josiah H. Benton, Jr., in "A Notable Libel Case," says, "There is 
no word or intimation here of the power of the Federal Judiciary to de- 
cide this and any similar question. There is only an unqualified appeal 
to the doctrine of States Rights and a practical declaration of the right 
of the States to nullify the Acts of Congress." There is no wonder that 
such words were followed within a month by the declaration of the Hart- 
ford Convention that, "In case of infractions of the Constitution affecting 
the sovereignty of a State and the liberty of its people, it is not only the 
right but the duty of such a State to interpose its authority for their 
protection in the manner best calculated to secure that end. * * * In 
such emergencies the States which have no common umpire, must be 
their own judges and execute their own declarations." 

Albert Bushnell Hart, professor of History in Harvard University, 
speaks as follows on page 284 of his "Essentials of American History :" 
"When the President of the United States called on the States for a cer- 

20 



tain number of militia (during the War of 1812), New Hampshire, Mas- 
sachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey refused to send 
any," although the London Times said of American war ships, "If they 
fight they are sure to conquer ; if they fly, they are sure to escape." 
(Essentials of American History, p. 284.) On the same page Prof. Hart 
says again : "In 1811 Josiah Quincy, a New England member of Con- 
gress, roundly threatened that New England would secede if Louisiana 
was made a State." 

Moreover, Webster voted constantly with Pickering, then in the 
House, and acted at all times with the ultra Federals, who, as Mr. 
Adams charged, undoubtedly proposed in 1804, and again in 1808, and 
again in 1814, to break up the Union, and form a separate Confederacy 
of New England and other States. (See letters of Pickering to Theodore 
Lyman, February 11, 1804 ; to Stephen Higginson December 24, 1803 ; to 
Bufus King, March 4, 1S04 ; and to other correspondence on the subject 
of a Northern Confederacy, printed in Henry Cabot Lodge's Life and 
Letters of George Cabot.) Webster was a politician, and secession was 
popular in New England. Even after the British had captured Wash- 
ington, had burnt our Capitol, torn down our flag and were red-handed 
in the blood of our soldiers and sailors, in the interest of secession from 
the United States and of annexation to England, with whom New Eng- 
land proposed a private peace during the War of 1812, Webster voted 
against taxes to carry on this second War of Independence. These facts 
are not mentioned by any of Webster's biographers except Curtis, and he 
slurs them over with a word, Webster's purpose apparently being to 
have them suppressed. Cromwell insisted on turning the side of his face 
with the wart on it towards the portrait painter. Webster's biographers 
tried to conceal the wart, so to speak, on their hero's character, and 
when Theodore Lyman, Jr., published the facts in 182S from the records 
of the Courts, Webster prosecuted him for criminal libel. The case was 
prosecuted with personal and political rancor as well, Webster and his 
friends being bitter against Lyman, because he had dared to support 
Jackson against Adams, Jackson representing in the minds of New 
England, everything bad and dangerous. The prosecution was instituted 
iu the Supreme Judicial Court, in which Webster could testify and Ly- 
man could not, as he could have done in the lower court, before which 
the case properly should have come. But with everything in Webster's 
favor, Lyman was cleared, and Webster was virtually convicted of trying 
for years to break up the Union by secession or war, and of attempting 
re-annexation to Great Britain, this being the popular side to take in 
New England at the time, or Webster would never have taken it. After 
Webster's virtual conviction, the tide of popular feeling turned in Ly- 
man's favor, and he was elected mayor of Boston without opposition in 
1834 and again in 1835. 

And yet Webster has been canonized as the great apostle and saint 
of Nationalism, and as the great expounder of the Constitution as para- 
mount law, and as abrogating the rights of the States, as the fathers of 
the Republic described and revered them. "The people of New England," 
says Col. Benton (page 108 of A Notable Libel Case), "yielded slowly 
and with extreme reluctance to the power of the National Government 

21 



under the Constitution. The Federal Union was good enough as long 
as it worked good to their local interests ; but when it did not, they 
deemed it entirely patriotic to consider the question of its dissolution. 
Hence, the Northern Confederacy scheme of 1S04, the violent and almost 
forcible opposition to the Embargo of 1S09, and the determined opposition 
to the War of 1S12, culminating in the proceedings of the Hartford Con- 
vention of 1S14." 

Again as late as 1S44, the Legislature of Massachusetts passed an 
ordinance of secession, declaring that "the annexation of Texas tended 
to drive the States into a dissolution of the Union," and that "Massa- 
chusetts was determined to submit her undelegated powers to no body of 
men on earth ;" and again in 1S4S Massachusetts talked freely and 
boldly of nullifying the Constitution by refusing to send a single soldier 
to uphold the flag in what she considered an unjust war with Mexico, 
though afterwards she did send one regiment. 

To these repeated acts or threats of disunion by the people of New 
England before 1SG0, we may add that William Lloyd Garrison's "Liber- 
ator," established in 1S31 as the organ of the unconditional abolitionists, 
constantly took the ground that the Constitution was a "league with 
death and a covenant with hell," because it recognized the right to hold 
slaves ; and the abolition of slavery was urged, although Mr. Garrison 
held that "slavery could be abolished only by the dissolution of the 
Union." 

The following resolutions were passed at this time by the American 
Anti-Slavery Society, composed of but recent descendants of the New 
England slave traders (Is Davis a Traitor? p. 149) : "Resolved, That 
secession from the United States Government is the duty of every Aboli- 
tionist. Resolved, That the only exodus of the slave to freedom is over 
the remains of the present American Church and the grave of the pres- 
ent Union. Resolved, That the Abolitionists should make it one of the 
primary objects of this agitation to dissolve the American Union." 

The New York Tribune became poetical on the subject, and addressed 
tbe American Flag as follows : 

"Tear down that flaunting lie; 
Half mast the starry flag! 
Insult no sunny sky 

With hate's polluted rag." 

And Henry Ward Beecher, the great apostle and high priest of the 
unconditional Abolitionists, called the Constitution "only that antiquated 
parchment." 

This sectional, compact and extra-constitutional minority elected 
Lincoln, during whose administration the too centrifugal Constitution 
and the too voluntary union of the Fathers of the Republic came to its 
foredoomed end, because it was too centrifugal and too voluntary to pro- 
tect and conserve the greatly expanded national life and to meet the 
vastly increased national and international responsibilities which de- 
veloped during the seventy years following 17S9. 

Secession as Taught at West Point. 
It is not surprising that the theory of secession as one of the reserved 



rights of the States should have prevailed more generally in the North 
than in the South, and that the practice of secession should have been 
much more frequently advocated in the North than in the South, when 
we consider that the right of secession was taught officially by the United 
States Government at West Point up to about 1S40 from Rawle's View 
of the Constitution, which was the text-book on Constitutional Law in 
the Military Academy. In this United States Text-Book the following 
language occurs: 

"If a faction should attempt to subvert the Government of a State 
for the purpose of destroying its republican form, the national power of 
the Union could be called forth to subdue it. Yet it is not to be under- 
stood that its interposition would be justifiable if a State should deter- 
mine to retire from the Union." (p. 2S9.) "It depends on the State 
itself whether it will continue a member of the Union. To deny this 
right would be inconsistent with the principle on which all our political 
systems are founded, which is, that the people have in all cases the right 
to determine how they shall be governed." (p. 289.) "The States may 
then wholly withdraw from the Union." (p. 290.) "If a majority of the 
people of a State deliberately and peaceably resolve to relinquish the re- 
publican form of government, they cease to be members of the Union." 
(p. 292.) "The secession of a State from the Union depends on the will 
of the people of such State." (p. 295.) "In any manner by which se- 
cession is to take place, nothing is more certain than that the act should 
be deliberate, clear and unequivocal." (p. 296.) "The people of a State 
may have reason to complain in respect to the acts of the general gov- 
ernment ; they may, in such cases, invest some of their own officers with 
the power of negotiation, and may declare an absolute secession in case 
of failure. The secession in such cases must be distinctly and peremp- 
torily declared to take place, and in such case, as the case of uncondi- 
tional secession, the previous ligament with the Union would be legiti- 
mately and fairly destroyed." (p. 296.) "It was foreseen that there 
would be a natural tendency to increase the number of the States. It 
was also known that a State might withdraw itself." (p. 207.) "To 
withdraw from the Union is a solemn, serious act." "Whenever it may 
appear expedient to the people of a State to withdraw from the Union, 
it must be manifested in a direct and unequivocal manner." (p. 298.) 

And the instruction given at West Point, from 1825 to 1840, as to the 
nature of a personal allegiance, from "Rawle on the Constitution," is 
especially significant: 

"This right (of secession) must be considered an ingredient in the 
original composition of the general government, and the doctrine here- 
tofore presented in regard to the indefeasible nature of personal alleg- 
iance is so far qualified in respect to allegiance to the United States. It 
was observed that the reciprocal relations of protection and allegiance 
might cease in certain events, and it was further observed that allegiance 
would necessarily cease in case of the dissolution of the society (the 
Union, in that case) to which it was due." (p. 289-200.) 

It thus appears that the West Point cadets were taught by the United 
States Government at West Point that the Union was dissoluble, and 

23 



that, if it should be dissolved, allegiance to the Union ceased, reverting 
to the States by which the Union had been created. 

And when at the beginning of a great war Robert E. Lee, who had 
been thus taught, subordinated his loyalty to the flag, under which he 
had served so long and with such distinction, to his sense of duty and to 
his native State; and when he stopped his ears to the call of ambition 
from the strong and opened them to the cry for help from the weak ; 
when he refused to accept the command of the armies of the United 
States and took a subordinate position offered him by Virginia, he set 
an example of self-sacrifice and devotion to duty for duty's sake un- 
equaled in the history of soldiers and of armies. 

It is an historic fact that Jefferson Davis was not tried for treason, 
because, under several States' rights decisions of Chief Justice Chase, 
before he became Chief Justice, and under the States' rights instruction 
received at West Point from "Rawle on the Constitution," which was to 
be put in evidence if the trial had occurred, he could not have been con- 
victed. 

It would foster harmony between the sections if the people of the 
North would acquaint themselves with these historic verities ; if they 
would cease to call a war a rebellion which President Lincoln in his fa- 
mous Thanksgiving Proclamation of November, 1863, called "this la- 
mentable strife in which we are unavoidably engaged ;" if they would 
realize that the Confederates were neither rebels nor traitors and that 
there were good and solid, historical and constitutional grounds for the 
action of the Southern States in 1S61 on the belief that their patriotism 
should centre around the STATES rather than around the UNION of 
States, around the PLURES which had created the Union rather than 
around the Union which the Plures had created in 17S9 and had dis- 
solved in 1S61, justly and legally according to the conditions of the 
original compact as its framers created it, and as the whole country 
iuterpreted it during the first forty years of the existence of the Gov- 
ernment. 

And it is interesting to knoio and very pertinent to this discussion to 
note, that on January 11, 1907, the United States Senate changed the of- 
ficial name of the War of the Rebellion to The Civil War (Congressional 
Globe of even date.) The Senate, as a Committee of the Whole, had 
under consideration "A bill (S. 967) granting pensions to certain enlisted 
men, soldiers and officers, who served in the War of the Rebellion." 

Senator Teller, of Colorado, had used the term rebellion twice, basing 
his contention on what he expressd as his desire that the truth of history 
should be spoken and recorded. Senator A. O. Bacon, of Georgia, said, 
"* * * I rise to say that I do not think the term rebellion is a proper 
designation for the War (between the sections), nor have I any belief 
or apprehension that history will so record it. If it is not a proper des- 
ignation, the word rebellion should be stricken out and the words Civil 
War should be substituted." After some discussion. Senator Bacon's 
contention prevailed, and by the action of the United States Senate, the 
official name for the war between the sections shall henceforward be 
THE CIVIL WAR. 

In consideration of all the facts of the case, which cannot be gainsaid 

24 



or denied, the words rebel, rebellion, traitor and treason should disap- 
pear, and NATIONAL AMERICANS should no longer do injustice to 
each other's motives, as every one who took up arms on either side of 
the War between the Sections did so in obedience to the call to arms by 
his STATE, to which his primary and ultimate allegiance was due, ac- 
cording to the theory of the founders of the Government and of their 
successors till 1860, and according to the official instruction given by the 
Government itself at West Point to those who were to command its 
armies. 

II. The Practice or Secession by the U. S. Government. 

Having discussed the attitude of the trainers of the Constitution and 
of the people of the North, and especially of New England, towards the 
THEORY of secession, let us proceed to discuss the PRACTICE of se- 
cession as exercised or supported by the Government of the United 
States. 

The United States Government has been a party to six acts of seces- 
sion since 177G. The first secession, from England, of which the United 
States Government was born, and the second act of secession, from "The 
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union," of which "The more 
perfect Union of the Constitution" was born, have already been referred 
to, and the fact that no duration of time was specified in "The New Ar- 
ticles of Union" carries with it the right of withdrawal from it at will, 
an in every compact between persons, States or nations in all ages and 
among all people of all races, and settles legally, definitely and conclus- 
ively the abstract right of secession as the framers of the Constitution 
viewed in 1779. The first secession was bloody. The second secession 
was bloodless. The third secession, the second in which the United 
States Government was involved with armed men, was that of Texas 
from Mexico, through which we got our Pacific coast and became an in- 
teroceanic power with the most impregnable continental position among 
men. By the fifth act of secession, the fourth supported by armed men, 
that of Cuba from Spain, we got our Atlantic and Pacific Islands, and 
became a World Power, late enough in our history, but not too late. By 
the sixth act of secession, the fifth supported by our armed men, we got 
our Panama Belt, the most far-reaching National and International 
event in our history since the acquisition of our Pacific Coast. The third 
secession, that of the Southern from the Northern States in 1861, though 
in strict accordance with the compact of 17S9, was suppressed by the 
Armies and Navies of the United States. But in dealing with it, the 
United States Government itself made the strongest possible pronounce- 
ment in favor of secession as an accomplished fact. When the sword 
decided that we, and the fathers, and New England up to 1850 were all 
wrong, that the teachings of the United States Government at West 
Point were false and that the Union had never been dissolved and could 
never be dissolved, the victors dissolved a union which they had them- 
selves declared indissoluble ; a third of the States of this inseparable 
union were declared to be out of the union ; the dissolution of the union 
which the Southern States had failed to secure through the constitutional 
secession of 1861, was achieved by the extra- and super-constitutional 

25 



f 



dictum of the United States Government in 1865 ; the now seceded States 
were treated as conquered provinces and lived under a military govern- 
ment, contrary to the decision of the sword in 18G5 that the union was 
indissoluble, contrary to the Constitution of 17S9 and contrary to all the 
traditions and antecedents of the English-speaking race since the mili- 
tary despotism of William the Bastard ; and were restored to the Union 
only over the extra- and super-constitutional barrier of suffrage for 
ALL black men, literate and illiterate alike, although throughout the 
Northern States the ballot was denied to ALL illiterate black men, to 
ALL illiterate white men, to ALL red men, to ALL yellow men ; and 
later to ALL black men in Porto Rico, to ALL brown men in the Philip- 
pines, and to enough brown men in Hawaii to turn the Island over to 
the white men, and the ballot is still denied to all these classes, in the 
Northern States, and in our Atlantic and Pacific Islands. By the nulli- 
fication of the foredoomed Constitution of 17S9 in passing laws in four- 
teen States before 1S60 against the rendition of fugitive slaves, which 
rendition was as much a part of the Constitution as the President or 
Congress ; by the nullification of the Constitution of 17S9 in the emanci- 
pation proclamation, in direct opposition to one of its most distinct pro- 
visions, and indirect opposition to Lincoln's solemn promse in his first 
inaugural not to interfere with slavery where it existed ; by the entire 
abnegation of the Constitution of 17S9 and of the conception which its 
trainers had of the work of their hands in acting on the assumption that 
the STATES which created the Union called the UNITED STATES had 
no more power in this Union than the counties have in a State ; by the 
abnegation of the Constitution of 17S9, however foredoomed it might 
have been, in coercing sovereign STATES, by the abnegation of the Con- 
stitution of the Fathers (however foredoomed it might have been and 
however necessary its destruction as the Fathers conceived and promul- 
gated it might have become), in establishing a military despotism over 
one-third of the STATES, the determinate and constitutional, but fore- 
doomed, because too centrifugal United States Government of the 
Fathers, is a thing of the past, and the indeterminate and extra- and 
super-constitutional U. S. Government of the present is committed to the 
future, because the conditions in 1.8G0 constituted a Gordian Knot which 
conditions Lincoln must needs be the Alexander to solve with the 
SWORD. 

III. Secession as Attempted by the Confederate States. 

Having shown that secession in theory was legal and constitutional, 
and that the theory was abundantly affirmed by the practice of the 
United States Government in the six acts of secession in which the 
Government has been involved, once without armed men, five times with 
armed men, sustaining it five times and suppressing it once, let us discuss 
secession as attempted by the Southern States. 

An armed conflict between the reserved rights of the thirteen Inde- 
pendent Republics acknowledged by Great Britain in 1783 and the rights, 
powers and necessities of the general government was inevitable probably 
from the first. Madison feared that it would be sectional. Chancellor 
Kent predicted that it would be over a Presidential election. The fears 
of Madison and the prediction of Kent were verified in 1860. 

26 



When the Constitution was formed in 1789, slavery existed in all the 
States, as has been already said, and was incorporated in the instru- 
ment as distinctly as the President, Congress or the Supreme Court. 
The right to withdraw from the Union was as fully accepted as the right 
to accede to it. It took those political "coopers," so to speak, six years 
of wrangling, crimination and recrimination to "set up," so to speak, 
their little keg of thirteen independent, jealous and recalcitrant staves ; 
and but for danger from without, it seems doubtful whether, with all 
their skill and patriotism, they would ever have got it "set up" at all, 
and humanly speaking they certainly would not if slavery, ipsissimis 
verbis, and secession tacitly, had not been "headed up" in it. The pre- 
natal political history of the framers of the Constitution for twenty cen- 
turies, from the forests of Germany to the forests of the Atlantic coast 
of the New World, justified and necessitated their theory of secession as 
indispensable for the preservation of their strongest instinct, the right 
of local self-government. The facts of the case should estop crimination 
and recrimination about African slavery. The right to enslave men, to 
buy, breed, and sell them had been as unquestioned from the beginning 
of historic time as the right to enslave and domesticate wild animals, 
to buy, breed and sell them. The English, the Dutch and especially the 
people of New England, were responsible for the presence of African 
slavery in America, as they owned all the ships, the people of the 
South never having owned a ship engaged in the slave trade. The people 
of New England were responsible for importing slaves from Africa, for 
breeding, buying and selling slaves, for turning them into gold when 
they became unprofitable in their section. The people of the South, 
though innocent of the slave trade on the high seas, shared the responsi- 
bility with the New Englanders of owning, breeding, buying and selling 
them. But the cotton gin was more responsible than any other agency 
whatever for the conditions in 1860 by having made slavery profitable 
and sectional ; and so, to return to the figure of the coopers and the keg, 
the political coopers of 1789 headed up two charges of dynamite in their 
little- thirteen-stave keg, with little else in it as yet, and with hoops 
barely strong enough to keep it from falling to pieces. But by degrees 
the keg expanded into a barrel, and the barrel into the hogshead, so to 
speak, with contents of inestimable value. During these eventful years, 
the conscience of the world had been awakened on the subject of human 
slavery. France had freed her slaves and had paid for them. England 
had freed her slaves and had paid for them. New England had sold 
hers and had pocketed the money. The Abolition party was gaining 
strength steadily at the North with the avowed purpose, not of paying 
for the slaves whom their fathers had imported and sold, as England and 
France had paid for theirs, nor of sending them back to Africa, whence 
their fathers had brought them forcibly, but of freeing them without 
paying for them, thereby abrogating the Constitution and committing the 
greatest piece of highway robbery in history. Even Russia had freed 
her serfs, and the company in which the people of the South found them- 
selves as slaveholders was the Spanish peoples of South America, the 
Turks in Europe and Asia, and the slave-hunting tribes of Africa. But 
the Southern leaders claimed slaveholding as one of the rights distinctly 

27 



guaranteed by the Constitution, so highly esteemed in the South and 
never nullified in a single particular, but very lightly esteemed in the 
North and often nullified, and they could not see or would not see that 
all this EVOLUTION meant REVOLUTION; for a blow striking the 
dynamite of slavery must of necessity explode the dynamite of secession 
and slavery at the same time. When the explosion occurred, it blew 
one of the heads out of the "hogshead," so to speak, and greatly endan- 
gered its now invaluable contents ; and whatever the theory of secession 
and States' rights might be, and however non-constitutional, extra con- 
stitutional or unconstitutional the means used might be, the disruption of 
the United States Government could not be permitted, if a strong and 
highly organized commercial, manufacturing and industrial majority, 
with everything to fight with themselves, with everywhere to get mate- 
rial, money and men from, and with absolute command of the sea, could 
prevent a weak, unorganized, agricultural minority from disrupting it, 
who had practically nothing to fight with themselves, who had nowhere 
to get material, a dollar or a man from, and who had not a ship to de- 
fend their 2,500 miles of seacoast from Norfolk, Va., to Brownsville, 
Texas, though sea power is decisive in wars involving maritime peoples. 
The time had come for the conditions to change and it is worth our 
while to note that there are many other historic instances of an entire 
change of opinion and action about things once deemed eminent and dom- 
inant when the time came for the change. Our ancestors were firm be- 
lievers in the .influence of the stars over human life and destiny, as is 
shown in such words as jovial, mercurial, and saturnine, meaning origi- 
nally, born under the influence of Jupiter, Mercury or Saturn. Disas- 
trous, an ill-starred expedition, born under a lucky star, and the expres- 
sion, "you may thank your stars" in such universal use, all indicate the 
once dominance of astrology, to which the world has now ceased to give 
credence. The entire change in the minds of men as to witchcraft, re- 
ligious persecution and duelling, all so dominant once, and each with its 
holocaust of victims, illustrates the same thing. Belief in the right of 
secession was eminent and dominant in 1789. The maintenance of this 
belief in 1S60 was as much a thing of the past as the belief in astrol- 
ogy, witchcraft, religious persecution or duelling, once so dominant. 
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new ; 
And God fulfills Himself in many ways 
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world." 

Looking backward, we must be filled with wonder that the secession 
of the Southern from the Northern States should ever have been at- 
tempted at all ; but the Southern leaders could not or would not see that 
it was a case of Shakespeare's "Very Midsummer Madness," for a weak, 
unorganized, agricultural minority, without money, without credit, with- 
out arms, without ships, with scarcely a machine south of Richmond, 
without the skilled labor to produce any of these indispensable appli- 
ances of war, to undertake to fight a strong, highly organized, manu- 
facturing and industrial majority, supplied with all the appliances of 
war themselves ; able to command war material and men from the 
whole world, and with absolute command of the sea which washed 2,500 
miles of the minority's coast line. 

28 



Nor could the Southern leaders see that the North's fighting for a 
strengthened unity was business-like and logical, and that the South's 
fighting for a unity on the basis of disunity at will afterwards was un- 
businesslike and illogical. It was like moving heaven and earth to es- 
tablish a marriage, with the right of divorce attached, at the will, or 
even at the whim, of either party afterwards. 

With the prevision of political genius, Calhoun foresaw it all and 
warned the South of its danger. But he was regarded as a political Cas- 
sandra. With the prevision of military genius, General Lee saw it all, 
freed his slaves and urged all the slave owners to free theirs and arm 
them for their protection. But he was a military Cassandra, and in- 
stead of the South's taking the initiative and breaking the backbone of 
the opposition at home and securing intervention abroad, to which slave- 
holding was the only bar, the foredoomed emancipation of the slave was 
left to the enemy, a nascent nation was brought to the birth without 
strength to bring forth, and a radiant but unstable civilization was swept 
away. 

The obligations of the Nation to the South are very great. It was 
Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence, which 
ranks with the Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights as one of the three 
greatest and most fai'-reaching state papers among men. It was George 
Washington who established that independence. It was James Madison, 
who, as the constructive thinker, did more than all others to create the 
Constitution and to secure its ratification. It was John Marshall, that 
prince of jurists, who as Chief Justice for thirty years, developed the 
relations of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the gov- 
ernment. 

John Fiske, New England historian and Harvard professor, says that 
these four, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Marshall with Alexander 
Hamilton, "are distinguished above all others, and in an especial sense 
they deserve to be called the founders of the American Union." Hamil- 
ton was foreign born and bred. The other four were Virginians. 

Of the fifteen Presidents from 1789 to 1861, eight were from the 
South, and a ninth, William Henry Harrison, was born and educated in 
Virginia. 

During the seventy-two years between 1789 and 1861, Southern Presi- 
dents occupied the excutive chair forty-eight years, or two-thirds of the 
time, and five of them were re-elected. Northern Presidents occupied it 
but twenty-four years, one-third of the time, and no one of them was 
re-elected. 

It was Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, who inaugurated the Southern 
Democratic policy of expansion and added the Mississippi Valley to our, 
at that time, narrow and most vulnerable domain. And perhaps the 
most singular thing in the history of America since the landing of 
Columbus is the determinel effort of New England to keep the mouth 
of the Mississippi River in the hands of a foreign and hostile power by 
bitter opposition to the Louisiana purchase. It was James K. Polk, of 
Tennessee, who added Texas and the Pacific Slope to our domain ; and, 
in pursuance of this Southern Democratic policy of expansion, during 
the incumbency of President Johnson of Tennessee, Alaska was added ; 

29 



aud as Jefferson gave us our oceanic river and Polk made us an interoceanic 
power with the most impregnable continental position among men, the 
possession of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands gives us control of the 
North Pacific, while the possession of the Panama Canal Zone makes an 
attack on our Pacific Coast practically impossible except by the English, 
if we are wise enough to prepare for war in time of peace. As in peace, 
so in war, the record of Southern men has been conspicuous. Washing- 
ton won the War of Secession from England. In the War of 1812, the 
successful fighting on land was done by Scott and Harrison, of Virginia, 
and Jackson, of Tennessee. The Mexican War was won by Scott, of Vir- 
ginia, and Taylor, of Kentucky, ably seconded by younger officers, mostly 
from the South, among whom R. E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, T. J. Jack- 
son, and G. T. Beauregard were the most conspicuous. Military critics 
the world over recognize the superior generalship of Southern command- 
ers and the superior fighting of the Southern rank and file. In the Civil 
War, the victors themselves proclaim this to the world in having erected 
to the vanquished the most stupendous monument ever erected, since 
time began, by man to any men or to any cause. It is their pension roll, 
which after more than forty years numbers more of the disabled than the 
Confederates had in the field from Bethel to Appomattox. This most 
magnificent tribute to the vanquished is already THREE BILLION dol- 
lars high, is growing ONE HUNDRED and FORTY MILLION DOL- 
LARS higher every year, and will be at length SIX BILLION dollars 
high before the men who "saA r ed the Union" from patriotism get pay for 
their patriotism in money. 

The end was bitter to the vanquished ; but these bitter pangs were 
the birth pangs of the NEW SOUTH, which is already richer and more 
powerful than the old South could ever have been. Having surrendered 
in good faith, the men of the South betook themselves to the repairing 
of the wreck and ruin around them. Being of the purest Anglo-Saxon 
blood now left on earth and having their intense instinct of local self- 
government stimulated to the utmost, in order to preserve their civiliza- 
tion, they recovered what they had lost in the imminent, deadly breach, 
and a government of white men, by white men and primarily for white 
men, the only suitable and possible government for any other men among 
us, has been established. But in the agony of preserving their civiliza- 
tion, when for the first time since time began a white race undertook to 
put the feet of a colored race on the necks of men and women of their 
own blood and breed, the men of the South took no thought for National 
Politics, from which, nolentes volentes, they were rigidly excluded by 
the sectionalism of the Northern people, always one of their most marked 
characteristics. 

As long as the South had her legitimate share in national politics, 
American statesmen were pure and patriotic, American politics were 
clean, graft was practically unknown, and the government was a gov- 
ernment OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people. 

But since the people of the Southern States have been excluded from 
all share in National politics, the Great Republic of the west has drifted 
away more and more from the basic principles of local self-government. 
By tariff legislation for the Classes and pension legislation for the 

30 



Masses (from which the South has been mercifully delivered), the fal- 
lacy that the government must support the people has been enthroned 
and the sound Democratic doctrine of the fathers of the republic that the 
people must support the government has been dethroned ; and instead 
of a democracy, the United States Government, as administered by lead- 
ers from the Northern States since 1865, has become a pronounced plu- 
tocracy, in which a few men, protected by legislation in their own inter- 
ests, have heaped up fortunes in comparison with which Croesus and 
Crassus were paupers. Moreover, this dangerous tendency is fostered in 
the Northern States by the fact that with the very large infusion of for- 
eign blood, the intense instinct of local self-government has been large!} 
bred out. In the central west one inhabitant in every five is of foreign 
birth. In the South as a whole, only one in one hundred and twenty-five 
is of foreign birth ; and so with the phenomenal increase of wealth and 
luxury, which in all ages has been accompanied by a decline of civic vir- 
tue and righteousness, a government OF the plutocrat, BY the pluto- 
crat, and FOR the plutocrat has displaced a government of the people, 
by the people and for the people, and graft stalks rampant. 

Of all the changes since 1861, this is perhaps the most notable, and it 
is the most malign and the most ominous. 

The people of the Southern States fought a terrific war, not for slav- 
ery, not for secession, but for the right of local self-government, and 
this intensest instinct of the man of Anglo-Saxon blood and breed is 
more emphasized and intensified in the South today than anywhere else 
where God's sun shines. In the face of the fearful compression, suppres- 
sion, repression, depression and OPPRESSION of the reconstruction 
period, in the face of the hostile army kept on a war footing for years 
after 1865, in the face of a hostile North outnumbering the South five to 
one, in the face of the enfranchised negroes at home, instigated by hos- 
tile carpet-baggers, in the face of the South's abject poverty at the end 
of the war, every State in the South has regained its local autonomy ; 
the cotton crop has been quadrupled and the Southern States have en- 
tered upon a period of financial and industrial wealth, expansion and 
power inconceivable in 1860 and never before attained by any conquered 
people in so short a time. 

The sword has decided necessarily and finally against the right of 
secession as the framers of the Constitution conceived it, as both sec- 
tions of the Union understood it, and as the United States Government 
taught it at West Point and practiced it six times. But the right of 
REVOLUTION will always be claimed and will always be exercised by 
men of Anglo-Saxon blood when oppression forces them into revolution. 
Southern men created the Nation at first. And when the time comes for 
the plutocrats and the autocratic bosses to be dethroned, and for a gov- 
ernment of the people, by the people and for the people to be en- 
throned again, as come it must, unless the American Republic is to go 
the way of all the republics of the past, the conservative men of both 
sections, who esteem patriotism above greed, and democracy above plu- 
tocracy, will work cordially together again, shoulder to shoulder, heart 
to heart, hand to hand as of yore; but the lion-like leaders of this ref- 
ormation, if it can be a reformation, and of this REVOLUTION, if it 

31 



must be a REVOLUTION, must come largely from the South again, as 
in the days of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Marshall, 
who made the Nation at first ; for it is in the South where the lion-like 
leaders of local self-government have been born, bred and nourished, and 
where the conditions since 1865 have kept them in the most strenuous 
training. And then the sceptre will return to the South again, and the 
law-giver will be between our feet again as of yore; for all things come 
to those who wait and who keep pure and grow strong while they wait. 

"But new occasions teach new duties. 

Time makes ancient good uncouth ; 
They must onward still, and upward, 

Who would keep abreast of truth. 
Lo, before us lies the future, 

In it let us motors be ; 
But we ne'er must try that Future's Portal 

With any weak, dishonored key." 



:;2